One year on, Malawians see little change under Peter Mutharika

One year since Peter Mutharika was sworn in as president, Malawians say the new leader has done little to alleviate the poverty-stricken country’s dire economic situation.

Mutharika: A year since Mutharika was sworn in as president, Malawians say he has done little to fix the country’s dire economic state

Mutharika: A year since Mutharika was sworn in as president, Malawians say he has done little to fix the country’s dire economic state

Mutharika beat out Malawi’s first female president, Joyce Banda, in a hotly contested election on May 20, 2014, the results of which were disputed.

Mutharika, the younger brother of late President Bingu wa Mutharika, is seen by many as a progressive leader bent on ending the widespread corruption that had marked Banda’s rule.

Hated by the West and loved by the East, Mutharika promised to end what was described as incompetent governance instituted by Banda following Bingu’s abrupt death in 2012. Bingu had died three years into his final five-year term.

Banda, a darling of western governments, who is currently in self-imposed exile, lost considerable support following revelations that top officials in her administration had helped themselves to close to $100 million worth of public funds in a scandal later dubbed “Cashgate”.

But in the one year that Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been in power, critics say the new leadership has taken a “business-as-usual approach” instead of fulfilling their electoral promises.

Mutharika, for his part, in a Tuesday speech marking the end of his first year in office, defended his policies, promising his fellow Malawians that change was just around the corner.

He went on to say he had come to power at a time when “the economy was very unstable, amid the Cashgate scandal” and when “the country’s development partners had withdrawn budget support because of the looting scandal.”

Mutharika, however, went on to say that, in this short period, Malawi had enjoyed positive economic growth despite devastating floods that killed 176 people and dry spells that affected the country’s agricultural production.

He estimated that the national economy had grown by some 5.5 percent and was expected to reach 7 percent – or higher – starting next year.

“Inflation decelerated from 24.2 percent in November 2014 to 18.3 percent in April 2015, [which is] mainly explained by the relative strengthening of the Malawi kwacha, supported by declining pump prices of fuel,” Mutharika contended.

“We expect annual inflation to fall to 16.5 percent in 2015, compared to 23.8 percent in 2014,” he added.

The Malawian president added that this anticipated decline in inflation was expected to raise citizens’ disposable incomes, while interest rates were also expected to fall in 2016.

“The foreign exchange rate has continued to stabilize as a result of government initiatives to stock enough foreign exchange reserves, which have been more than three months of import cover,” he said.

“This has enabled the private sector to plan and be able to import their raw materials for industrial production without much difficulty,” Mutharika declared in his address.

Yet despite these assurances, the main opposition Malawi Congress Party has accused Mutharika of dragging his feet in regards to pressing national issues.

Ken Msonda, a spokesman for Banda’s People’s Party (PP), said the president was merely riding the wave of his brother’s success.

“There is nothing Mutharika can say he has done during his first year in office,” Msonda told Anadolu Agency. “Malawians deserve better; they want economic progress, but it seems we are going in circles and more people are languishing in poverty.”

Billy Mayaya, a vocal and government critic, says Mutharika must first fulfill his electoral promises.

“All we have seen [during his first year in office] is appointments along political lines, nothing more,” said Mayaya.

On Tuesday, State House press officer Gerald Viola asserted that Mutharika’s biggest achievement since assuming office was to “bring back donor confidence”.

In March, the IMF resumed its financial support for Malawi to the tune of $20 million worth of credit. And earlier this week, the African Development Bank disbursed $29 million in budget support for Malawi.

“The recent disbursements to Malawi signify a shift of mindset by multilateral and bilateral donors to a third-world country that has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons following the Cashgate scandal,” Viola said.

What’s more, even Mutharika’s critics credit him with reducing the number of cabinet officers from 43 to 20.

Mutharika has also embarked on a massive reform drive aimed at streamlining the country’s bloated civil service, which, he says, will save an estimated 30 percent of the state’s resources each year.

An educator and lawyer with experience in the field of international law, Mutharika will have four more years to prove his critics wrong.

His supporters were no doubt cheered by a report issued Tuesday by the U.S.-based World Justice Project, which ranked Malawi fifth in Africa in terms of adherence to the rule of law.

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25 thoughts on “One year on, Malawians see little change under Peter Mutharika”

  1. Chinyengo says:

    BEAM, NAC. PRIME MINISTER, INTERNET TAX oops no Internet tax, visa fees oops no visa fees, PAC mishaps, oops, hastily married ugly Gertrude

  2. Funso says:

    A reduced cabinet but a bloated number of advisers!

  3. Blessings says:

    Palibe koma kuba ku NAC etc,

  4. Bolingo says:

    Zoseketsa abwana apm, mwat mwapangapo chan mchakachi? mwina mugone kaye ndikudzunso ndye muone that u have done nothing, only 2 fuel up umbava powalanda anthu 2mabizi,njinga,pano mwat driver aliyense akhale nd id very confusing i thot that drivers licence its enough. kuba basi…!

  5. rumphi east says:

    It looks like the name Daniel phiri was given by ben phiri to the former president that’s why peter will always be a puppet of ben phiri hence nothing to write home about in as far as one year in office of peter is concerned. We just need federalism.

  6. rumphi east says:

    He has Broken the record as the only Malawian president serving along with a prime minister,ben phiri.

  7. mtumbuka1 says:

    Kodi a Imran sadiki, ung’onoung’ono unathera kuti? Mwakwera ya mlakho? Shit happens men. We can follow a politician today tomorrow he changes colour and we as supporters are left in the middle of nowhere..not your fault though. Let’s support chakwera mdjomba others have proved to be vibekete vakufikapo in the same breadth I don’t see the dpp leveling the playing field in the 2019 elections cos if one can manage to rig an election while in opposition,you can imagine what he can do when he is in govt azatapa mavoti okuba ngati ngumbi!! We are in deep trouble guys. We hoped in youthful leaders like atupele but peter stashed his little head under the rock and his can only manage to wave his little tail,a what a waste of a soul!

  8. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Please, please, one year is too short to call any new government a success of failure. Unless the commentator is heavily biased. Even for ardent DPP supporters, all they are doing is pointing out the success. And the best detractors should do is list the failures. And try to give a score, maybe, on a scale. So far, it may be 7 out of 10; which is not too bad.
    A few points are in order, regarding this article:
    1. “… Malawians say the new leader has done little …”.
    Where is the evidence for such a broad statement? Any credible opinion polls, even?
    2. “Mutharika beat out … in a hotly contested election on May 20, 2014 …”.
    That election was, surprisingly, a cake walk for APM and his DPP. Shenanigans were
    pulled, to be sure, by some ignorant individuals, like the former president, Joisi Banda,
    when she was caught with “pants down” trying to nullify the results, by referring to
    non-existent section(s) of the constitution.
    Anthu a mziko lino anachenjera masiku ano (How ignorant was that, on her part?)
    3. “Hated by the wet…”.
    Hate is a strong word, and hardly used with relevance, in politics, Mr. Phiri. It’s really
    apropos in personal relations, rather than in politics because it means nothing
    therein.
    Finally, do not waste time referring to Mr. Msonda and PP: they lost relevance already.
    PP’s “body” yasupuka heavy ( is already bruised and scarred). The “head” will soon realize there is no hope of surviving, and will just give up without a whimper. Slowly. Death by a thousand cuts.

  9. vera says:

    problem with this president is that he is running the country with greedy idiots who cant help him.i have heard he has recruited another puppet master in norman chisale,a man who cant read or write.chisale is the one who has taken ben phiri’s place as chief puppet master.

  10. Kennedy says:

    It is business as usual dancing in august as well as bicc its enough to fool the people of south not wise people can take it. We will contnue to sufer if we don’t wake up, even theift prays to the Lord when they go for robbing business. Let those who dance to Dpp’s foolishness continue one day God will give us good leader just like Bingu in his first 5years, amen.

  11. Balamanthu says:

    Peter has no clue of what it takes to run government.The statistics he used is for some projects which were started during PP government.He runs a government of a few people that control everything for their own greed,by the few people for the same few people that wish to run a tribe rather than run a nation.He uses cronies in cabinet and government appointments and as such, he is just circulating old brains that dont add value to the development of the country.

    If Malawians, especially through MBC tv were to be honest, they should be sending messages that Peter has not changed their lives for the better.I am not sure whether Mr Emmanuel Thuwala wants to be promoted by faking all the stories he run.Dishonesty will not bring change in the country.When things are bad, lets say it so that we can see change.Dont cheat the leadership.Adzamwa tameki akadzaluza 2019

  12. Lending Rates 50% says:

    Never seen such a stupid government happy when people are brrowing money at 50% per annum. We are the only ones in the world. Yes we are the poorest.

  13. Dambudzo Mwasanya says:

    His achievements have to distort his poor handwriting to make easy money through false asset declaration.Keeping his Cunning Rasputin friend Ben Phiri to get dodgy advices.So what Zero budget contributed to the povos in Malawi while himself is feeling full his tummy with chips and chickens by tax payers money.Malawians cannot afford a decent meal from the Zero deficit budget.He also likes alot dancing in dinner dances with his friend Saulos their wives flaunting some new dresses from Lily Alfonso.Where are we heading in this country?Probably we should auction it to Aliko Dangote the richest man in Africa who is coming to Malawi.

  14. Barnaba Sila says:

    Peter is trying his best. In the absence of donor support I give Peter a thumbs Up. Fuel is available, Kwacha is stable, Peace prevails in Malawi, Peter has accommodated opposing views on crucial matters like the MSB sale, no witch-hunting, etc. May the Lord continue to bless Malawi as we continue to fight on to wean ourselves from dependency syndrome!

  15. Nangozo says:

    What Peter Mutharika’s government has done which he thinks is good for Malawians is eating and dancing at state houses. Keep it up with the dinner dances and even construct larger buildings for the same reason. It is your time to enjoy while other people are suffering in so many forms.

  16. shaaaa! says:

    ngakhale banja,sikuti timangoti lero chikwati ,mawa mwana wabadwa.kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  17. tuvitwana says:

    FELLOW MALAWIANS, WHAT D U EXPECT FROM AN OLD OLD MAN LIKE HIM? A DISGRACE TO THE NATION. TODAY HE SEZ THIS, 2MORO THAT, A WASTE OF TIME

  18. Mr Ibu can not be a good president.

  19. Kadakwiza says:

    What our president Professor Peter Muthalika has done since he came to power is offering Malawians traveling passports. No jobs, Malawians are running out of the country because of poverty and hunger. In every country in the world there are Malawians, looking for food, education and jobs. The worst part now we our daughters and sisters now are becoming prostitutes in foreign countries. All is happening within a year since Professor Peter Muthalika became president of Malawi. Malawians don’t need donors, Malawians need investors. Malawians are suffering now than before.

  20. If he has done a little that means he has done something and we have taken a step ahead than before
    Rome wasn’t built in a day
    Patience patience!

  21. Bbj says:

    Tikudikila 4yrs yatsala

  22. Getu Petulo Trivia Salanje says:

    A nyapapi a DPP. MUKUTANI

  23. Sapitwa says:

    They say compare apples with apples and not apples with pawpaws.
    It is therefore incorrect to compare JB’s government with APM’s government for their circumstances are different.
    Donors resumed budget support to JB’s government that was stopped during Bingu’s government. She could not exert any effort to get the Aid resumed. Aid got just resumed on business as usual!
    One with a sound mind and not a stupid fool or a lunatic could have expected Mutharika to improve people’s lives given circumstances he came into power. What could any opposition leader do of what Mutharika has failed to do to get Donors resume support? I don’t see any opposition Leader who come on the podium and articulate what he could do to get Donors resume aid again in the same prevailing conditions demanded by the Donors.
    APM is doing well. We have fuel, forex,stocks in the shops and the are the same things that people wanted during JB’s time and they also became her campaign song.
    We have a good one year that we never hoped for. Bravo APM, bravo DPP, bravo the cabinet, bravo Chilima!!!!!

  24. Mateyo Oyera says:

    The only achievement APM has registered in his first year in office has been the holding of presidential dinner dances . Otherwise, palibe ndaonapo ine .

  25. ujeni says:

    One wasted year gone. We had ten years wasted by UDF. Peter Mutharika if not careful will be worse than Muluzi. So far one year down four to go. What we see is the rise of killing of Malawians by armed robberies. A Party of thugs sponsoring armed robberies.

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